CRICKETER OF THE YEAR 1915

Harold Hardinge

HAROLD THOMAS WILLIAM HARDINGE was born on the 25th of February, 1886. Hardinge is one of the best products of the Kent nursery at Tonbridge. All he knows about cricket he learnt at that famous training school, as he went there, a boy of little more than thirteen, in July, 1899. Capt. McCanlis during his long years of service as coach at Tonbridge had, perhaps, only one better pupil. Hardinge did not play in any matches until 1901, when he started modestly enough. After that he served a severe apprenticeship to the game, gradually forming his fine method as a batsman. His records at Tonbridge up to 1907, when he secured his place in the Kent eleven, have been kindly supplied by Mr. Tom Pawley. For four years his lowest average was 31, and in 1906 he had a wonderful season, scoring 1,265 runs with an average of 74. In his earliest years he seems to have shown even greater promise as a bowler than as a batsman, taking 151 wickets in 1902 and 117 in 1903. Then, as his batting developed, his bowling declined. Since he began to play regularly for Kent his figures in Tonbridge cricket, in accordance with custom, have not been preserved. Hardinge played his first match for Kent in 1902, but for the next few seasons little was seen of him, and except for an innings of 62 not out in 1903 he did nothing out of the common. His real career began in 1907, when in an innings of 129 in the Whit-Monday match at Brighton against Sussex he revealed his powers. He did not show the same form in any subsequent match, but in county fixtures for the whole season he scored 641 runs with an average of 26. In 1908 he made a marked advance, being only second as a run-getter among the regular Kent batsmen to Seymour, but in the following year he had a sad set back. He played in fourteen of the twenty-six county matches and his best score was 56. In 1910 he only played in five county matches and for the moment it looked as if his early promise would not be fulfilled. However, he fully re-instated himself in the following season, and since 1911 he has, as everyone knows, been one of the mainstays of the Kent eleven. In 1913 he reached the highest point to which he has yet attained. On his form in August that year he was an England batsman. He made four hundreds in successive innings--154 not out against Leicestershire at Canterbury, and 117 and 105 not out against Hampshire, and 107 against Northamptonshire, in the Dover week. Then in Kent's last county match he scored 110 against Middlesex at Lord's. His record for the season in county fixtures was remarkable--1,949 runs with an average of 44. Last summer he was not quite so successful, but he played wonderfully well, scoring 1,735 runs in county matches with an average of 38. Hardinge has nearly every good quality as a batsman, but he is not seen at his best against very fast bowling. Playing quite straight, he is strong on both sides of the wicket, his off-driving being especially fine. He can be very brilliant, but he takes no liberties until he has thoroughly played himself in. Apart from his batting, he is one of the finest outfields in the world--fast, sure and untiring. He has earned great distinction at Association Football, playing for several years with Sheffield United and recently for the Arsenal. He played for England against Scotland in 1910. Owing to football, he has never been to Australia or South Africa.

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